Amazon to Triple ‘Frustration-Free Packaging’ Shipments

by | Dec 1, 2011

Amazon aims to triple the number of items shipped under its “Frustration-Free Packaging” initiative next year, BusinessWeek reports.

Amazon kicked off the program, which pushes suppliers to cut out excessive and hard-to-open packaging such as plastic clamshells and plastic-coated wire ties, in 2008. The initiative began with 19 items from Mattel, Microsoft and memory card company Transcend Information.

This year the program grew to 80,000 products and an expected 12 million items shipped. Amazon hopes that the move will not only alleviate “wrap rage,” but reduce waste and lower shipping costs.

For Amazon to certify a product as Frustration-Free, it must be easy to open, come in recyclable packaging, and ship in its own package without the need for an additional shipping box, the company says. It verifies and tests these packages to ensure they meet Amazon requirements before awarding them Certified Frustration-Free emblems.

To help reach its latest goal, the online retailer is seconding engineers to help product makers improve their packaging designs, and it is initiating contact with manufacturers that get poor customer ratings on their packaging.

Amazon has been repeatedly criticized for what some see as its lack of transparency on environmental issues. In September, the Carbon Disclosure Project said that Amazon was the largest company in the Global 500, by market capitalization, not to disclose its carbon performance. On the list of top non-disclosing companies, it was followed by Rosneft, Bank of China and Warren Buffett’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway.

In the same month, independent analyst Verdantix said that Amazon, along with other major internet firms such as Facebook and Netflix, is failing to adequately disclose its carbon footprint. Verdantix said that Amazon has rejected stakeholder requests for increased transparency on GHG emissions.

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